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George Lucas, Episode 2 and the world of Digital Filmmaking! Attention Indie Filmmakers, a new age is coming!

Hey folks, Harry here... It's beginning... For the next year you will begin to see George Lucas heavily campaigning and championing a new film technology... It is this Sony/Panavision 24fps HD Camera. The camera is all Sony, but the lenses are all Panavision.

This technology is easily a zillion times more important for film than STAR WARS itself from what I can tell. The below link is to the first installment of the George Lucas HD Propaganda Machine... There will be many many more documentaries and specials and public demonstrations... His goal is to wake up the world and tell them that film is dead. That you should no longer shoot on film, that your film's final color does not have to be in the fate of a batch of chemicals... that you can control it and have it shown exactly as you envision it. It is cheaper, faster and easier. You can shoot with practical lighting, you don't have to load the camera after 15 minutes as the tapes are 50 minutes... and the cost of these tapes are under $100. The contrast and resolution you will find out is superior to film itself. Sound and image are recorded in the same place. And the technology is only going to become better.

There is much much more for you to learn from George... How do I know? Well, I know one of George's disciples...

Robert Rodriguez went to Skywalker Ranch to mix sound on SPY KIDS. While at the Lucas Compound, the guru of digital cinema showed Robert the glory and the vision of Digital Filmmaking... all the tricks, all the advantages... Showed him everything. The results? Robert will most likely never shoot on film again. Robert's reaction? He bought one of the HD cameras and began shooting tests... Then did 35mm and Digital side by side comparisons. Then transferred the Digital to film and the results... Even on 35mm film stock, the Digital shot footage is vastly superior in image quality, color brightness, deep dark blacks... everything... and that's on film, apparently with digital projection, there's another step up... I can't speak towards that yet, as I've only seen Rodriguez's 35 / Digital side by side comparison footage...

At SXSW, Rodriguez demonstrated the technology to an audience filled with filmmakers... and audible gasps were heard throughout. Robert was proclaiming film dead... describing the film footage as, "Looking like someone wiped their ass with it!"

Look for Lucas to use Episode 2 as a springboard for convincing the world of film that a change is coming. Watch for him to work quite hard to win a Best Cinematography Oscar with Episode 2... There is a revolution coming folks... Right now the cameras are expensive... but already the prices are coming down... as demand and innovation continues in terms of size and lightness... prepare to see a RADICAL change in the way film is shot... the price of filmmaking change... and a non-degradation of image through the developing process.

Robert describes it as the way you dream of cinema looking... The way you remember it, not what it actually is.

If you want the smaller sized version of this documentary, goto StarWars.Com if you want the larger version... so you can see the new Star Wars Episode 2 Footage... Click below....

Click here to instantly begin downloading the short documentary!!!

To the Talkbacker below that talks about loving the GRAIN of film... I voiced the same concern to Robert who told me that on Digital... you can emulate ANY LOOK that film has ever had... any stock, any grain... You want a classic Technicolor look? Or say the beauty of the color of TAXI DRIVER... that DR ZHIVAGO look? Or even that stark contrast black & white of NOTLD... Yeah, I griped about the NOTLD special edition, but that's because those apes working the controls on that shitstorm were butchers and kindergarten school fingerpainters... And, for the record... NOTLD SE was not shot digitally or worked on by ANYONE WORTH A CRAP!

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  • March 29, 2001, 1:39 a.m. CST

    If film is dead and Digital is the future, where does that leave

    by Greensleeves18

    True, digital film is some of the most beautiful imigary on the planet, but how many times have film lovers raved about graininess actually ADDING to the film itself. A lot of you remember Harry bitching and moaning about the 30th Anniversary Edition of NOTLD BECAUSE there was no grain! I whole-heartedly agree with his opinion and would not show that movie to anyone on the earth, but it is a perfect example of what is taken when we loose the film. Let's face it, as the digital revolution is upon us, we seriously have to take into consideration that as with all other advancements in technology, as we advance we regress as well.

  • March 29, 2001, 2:24 a.m. CST

    Adding myself to the list of former-film-purists-turned-digital-


    My anti-digital mentality more or less went down the tubes when I realized the possibilities that lie within. And not even necessarily with just techinical considerations; I mean changes that the INDUSTRY will see. Think about it. If you've ever even TRIED to make a film -- a short, an independent film, whatever -- you know just how damn expensive the whole thing is. And the film itself is one of the most arduous, most precarious elements in the entire process. You shoot it, you send it to the lab, you get it back and screen it, and only THEN do you see what you've got. If it didn't come out just right, you may have to re-shoot it. If you can't afford to reshoot, you hope you can fix it in post. If you can't fix it, you either have to live with it, or find a cost-effective way to get around it. But with digital... good God! Once you shoot it, you can look at it. If it works, you've got it. If it doesn't, you re-shoot it right then and there. And, as Harry mentioned, the stock itself is incredibly more cost-effective. You've got 50 minutes of media in the camera. Shoot as many damn takes as you like. And when it's all said and done, THIS WILL MAKE FILMS CHEAPER TO MAKE. And when that happens, studios will be MUCH more willing to take chances with greenlighting projects that seem iffy or "not typically their cup of tea." These days, studios only want to make two kinds of films: $100+ million, sure-fire blockbuster summer movies, or $10 million "low-key" films that they'll either not lose much money on if they fail, or they'll make ten times the money back if they do well. Basically, the studios either want "Armageddon" or "Good Will Hunting," with not very much else inbetween. Just think if a script comes along that is unique, and different from all the other drivel that the big studios put into production, and they figure the budget on this project would be about $50 to 60 million to produce on film, but only about $20 or 30 million to do on Digital.... Maybe for the lower cost, they'll be willing to take that chance, and we'll have one more film around that sets itself apart from all the mainstream crap we've been suffering from for so long now. The digital revolution is a very welcome one for filmmakers, especially independents. Just keep an open mind, folks. Lightstormer out.

  • March 29, 2001, 2:29 a.m. CST

    damned quicktime...

    by ar42

    I've tried this on three different computers and still can't get it to play right.

  • March 29, 2001, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Lucas actually had a good point

    by The Grape Tree

    I really like Lucas' point about how it's not all about the technology, it's about how you use it to tell a story. If someone makes a black and white 16mm film that is a hell of a lot better than the new, you know, state of the art digital whatever, then who cares about the new technology, right? Film, digital, they're both ways of making movies.

  • March 29, 2001, 2:39 a.m. CST




  • March 29, 2001, 3:08 a.m. CST

    I just hope Ep.2 looks better than Ep.1.....

    by Captain Katanga

    ....but I'm worried it won't. The first 3 films looked better for their lack of computerised slickness. The Phantom Menace had been so unbelievably touched up by the time they'd finished, it just looked like a cartoon. Its not that far away from being Toy Story 2! Give me the rough and ready look of Star Wars any day....

  • March 29, 2001, 3:10 a.m. CST

    Georges master Vision

    by Paul Allen Voiq

    Okay I have Seen some of the digital film shots used on earth final conflict, looks good. Who cares Video is a great sub for film because some of us Indies cannot afford to shoot film. Lucas can afford to shoot film. He is doing this to Market a new technology. This has nothing to do with starwars.Lucas does not care about starwars he cannot even write a good story anymore. If he wants to make more movies called "STAR WARS" films he should use some film and some practical fx. (IE not having everything digital for the sake of it)Put TPM next to ESB Now turn down the sound. Do they look like their from the same galaxy. NO Everything is oversaturated and full of cutesy creatures in episode 1 The reason Episode 5 did so well is there is more Technology or People Than Funny fury sidekicks. The Humanity is in the story. The Fancy stuff should add to the story in some dramatic way not replace it. The whole digital film angle is another way of steering us away from the main focus. WILL THE STORY FUCKIN ROCK OR WHAT?!? GEORGE??!! TELL US IT WILL BE A GOOD STORY???!! I FUCKEN DARE YOU!!??? After the script is good I want to see Darth Vader Collapse someone

  • March 29, 2001, 3:19 a.m. CST

    I couldn't agree more Darth Zoloft...

    by Captain Katanga

    Lucas is the kind of guy that felt he had to make Greedo shoot first....OH MY GOD THERES NO HOPE FOR THE NEXT TWO FILMS!! And as for this Hayden Christianson kid...what kind of face is that??? I hope he proves me wrong, but he doesnt look like he has much visual screen presence!

  • March 29, 2001, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Reverend Ablack for president!!


    Good Reverend... many, many kudos to you for your unwavering truths! (1) Yes, editing will be far more forgiving and efficient in digital. (2) Yes, FULL FRONTAL FEMALE NUDITY has done more for cinema than Bogart, Hitchcock, and Spielberg combined. (3) Yes, if shooting film were any easier and/or cheaper, Eyes Wide Shut would most likely have turned out as a 5-night miniseries to be aired on Sinemax. (4) "RAPING LUCAS ON FILM. . . Just a thought." Genius. Pure genius. I'd buy THAT for a dollar. (5) "It took me a half hour to figure out that NOTLD was Night of the Living Dead." Same here. I'll bet a million dollars somebody on this website has probably abbreviated the title for "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and somebody else mistook it for his birthday in Roman numerals. (6) Last but by no means least. . . BEAGLECHOPS! 100% guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Excellent work, Reverend. PREACH IT, BROTHAH! Halleluiah!! LIGHTSTORMER OUT!!

  • March 29, 2001, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Checklist for presidential candidacy...


    [1] Is your father a former President of the United States? [2] Can your brother (or other family member / family friend / personal friend, etc.) rig at least ONE major state's Electoral College vote in your favor? [3] Do you have at LEAST a fourth-grade level competency in English language skills? [4] Do you have at least FIVE close, personal friends / constituents that run large corporations and could benefit from creating / endorsing / passing laws to make such rich, fat bastards even RICHER, FATTER bastards? If you have answered "yes" to all five questions, you may go ahead and start writing your inauguration speech now....

  • March 29, 2001, 4:05 a.m. CST



    Wow. I'm glad someone who knows what they're talking about is here to tell the rest of us about it. I'll be totally honest; the rant I posted above in favor of Digital is entirely based on the info I've heard / read / surmised / inferred thus far. The considerations you've brought up I have heard nothing about, so I'm actually glad to have it brought to my attention. Where did you learn all this stuff?

  • March 29, 2001, 4:20 a.m. CST

    Baby Steps

    by MCVamp

    That's all this is. The first fledgling baby steps of technology. Let's compare it to computer graphics. Around 1978, the longest computer effect ever seen in a movie debuted. It was the opening sequence of THE BLACK HOLE, showing a crude wireframe model of a black hole, and it was not actually an integrated movie effect, just a nice background for the opening credits. It lasted roughly two minutes, and was not seen again in the any form. After that, TRON, LAST STARFIGHTER, WILLOW, TERMINATOR 2 and more all contributed to amazing technological jumps. Then the real "Holy Shit" moment hit almost 15 years after that first crude wireframe, when Jurassic Park's dinos blew everything else away. It continued with the Matrix, Toy Story, and the new Star Wars movies. Now it seems like there isn't an action movie out that doesn't use CGI in some way. Maybe digital film is still barely beyond baby steps now, let's say at the "TRON" stage by comparison. Well, come back in 10-15 years and see where it is then. But you know what? It probably won't even take THAT long to make an impact not unlike Al Jolson's scratchy voice coming through in the "Jazz Singer."

  • March 29, 2001, 4:23 a.m. CST

    Neo: On Hollywood features, yes.


    That's absolutely true. I remember Nora Ephron once said that if she were to re-do Sleepless In Seattle today, it would cost, like, $45 mil just to get Hanks, Ryan, and Rosie O' Donnel signed on. That's BEFORE the actual production budget comes into it. So, yes, your point is well taken. What with all the Tom Cruises, Harrison Fords, Jim Carreys and Julia Robertses of the industry, the above-the-line costs are the most outlandish. And no studio exec in his or her right mind would ever tell a producer their movie is spending too much on film stock. It wouldn't happen. If you don't have film and don't have it processed, you have no movie. However, all that having been said, when I discussed the cost-effectiveness of Digital compared to film, I was thinking more along the lines of smaller, non-Hollywood productions. Of course, this was before you brought up the notion that you would pretty much have to have a Skywalker Ranch of your own for the process to work the way it's designed to. Out.

  • March 29, 2001, 4:43 a.m. CST


    by iamroman

    Oh no!!! You mean we won't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money of film stock (most of which will end up on the trash, unlike digital tapes which can be used over and over)? We will no longer have to spend valuable shooting time cleaning the fucking gate? We will no longer have to spend weeks in color correction? And the images we shoot will be immediately sharp, clear, and colorful, instead of being grainy and degrading with each copy? NO!!! I WANT my films to be LESS sharp and MORE EXPENSIVE to make, because poor images and an empty bank account make a film more "intimate" !!!! In fact, let's ditch all this Dolby stereo crap too and go back to silent filmmaking on hand-cranked cameras, to somehow preserve our bullshit concept of "artistic integrity," which is merely a rationalization masking our fear of technology and learning new things.

  • March 29, 2001, 6:48 a.m. CST

    It is inevitable

    by Geekgrrl

    that digital processes take over. It's just a matter of time and type. Most of the big players shoot the film, scan it in, do everything digitally - then burn it back to film, so it really just means eliminating a couple of steps for those folks. In the print world, film still has a few advantages, especially in film sizes above 35mm, but the gap is closing fast. I'm sure the same is true for motion pictures too. The only exceptions are special venue formats, where the film is several times larger than 35mm. I just saw a special venue director, and she was glowing about this new digital format, too. I agree that it will kind of shaft the indies in the short term, but technology will eventually be cheap enough for even them to afford. I can do stuff on desktops that you used to only be able to do on SGIs. The first affordable DVD burners that will produce commercially playable DVDs just came out.

  • March 29, 2001, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Let's review...

    by bswise

    Great art is not produced by means, but necessity. Digital IS cool. Lucas is a rich kid who like to play with toys. Ep. 2 will likely be more castrated kiddie fair, maybe a notch above SPY KIDS. And, George W. is a half-wit dictator.

  • March 29, 2001, 7:40 a.m. CST

    The real problem with digital...

    by geekzapoppin

    A film that was made in 1910 can be viewed on a modern 35mm projector with only minor adjustments. Try watching a video tape from 1970. It would be very difficult to find a machine that could do it. The point is this. Digital filmmaking is all good and well. I just don't think that it has the shelf-life of a well-cared-for film. I, for one, would hate to lose a great film, just because there isn't any equipment around to show it with.

  • March 29, 2001, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Camera Technology

    by Gal Lucas

    In 1979 on "Empire" they used Panavision cameras that dated from the 1950s. I can't see them using the digital cameras of today in 30 years. Technology is moving so fast and it's no longer built to last.

  • March 29, 2001, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Re: geekzapoppin / The real problem with digital...

    by Spamagnet

    This is a two-edged sword. Sure, you show a 1910 movie on a standard movie projector, but will you see anything? Unless you have spent $$$ to keep the film in cold storage and keep it restored, your film may be unviewable. Naturally, videotape can also deteriorate. In the future, though, we will be able to archive these movies on optical media which are much more stable than either film or videotape.

  • March 29, 2001, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Lucas is a hack

    by longtom

    Lucas is a hack! He should spend his money on good writers and try to find some emotion and soul, in his stupid movies instead of buying new cameras to make things look nicer, more eye candy.Great movies have been shot on film. Lucas can't make a great movie now, even with all his expensive crap.

  • March 29, 2001, 8:38 a.m. CST


    by Randfilms

    Sony or Panasonic is going to come out with a 3 chip 24fps-capable HDTV camcorder that will have firewire output AND serial digital output. This camera will be the same type of technological leap that the VX1000 was and will be so revolutionary that people will be scrambling to add HDTV cards to there G4 Macs in order to be able to shoot, edit and finish HIGH DEFINITION programming right out of there garage. You saw it here first. Late 2002 or before NAB, 2003.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:03 a.m. CST

    A lot of this is just hype.

    by Palmer Eldritch

    Lightstormer, what you said was "they figure the budget on this project would be about $50 to 60 million to produce on film, but only about $20 or 30 million to do on Digital.... Maybe for the lower cost, they'll be willing to take that chance" -- -- -- Really the only people making movies for $50-60m are what we understand to be "Hollywood" apart from occasional exceptions like "Enemy At The Gates". Lucas reckons that shooting digital saved $2 million. That's less than 2% of the budget, and he shot the equivalent of a million feet of film, roughly 180 hours! He also saved a lot of money because he would have to have scanned all his footage into ILM's computers. So when you say "I was thinking more along the lines of smaller, non-Hollywood productions" - those kind of productions probably spend 50,000-100,000 tops on film, development and rushes (and entire 35mm features have been shot for less than $100,000) and if they shoot on digital the costs go up. Not only are the cameras much more expensive and fragile, but a the end you need to spend between 50,000 and 200,000 to scan it back out to film anyway, so the costs end up about the same. There will need to be an additional HiDef technician to watch over the set up and monitoring. Forget about all that "you can play your footage back and see if what you got is OK". that sort of shit is OK for holiday videos and film students, but on a major production (TV or Film) they don't have time to sit around while the director watches the tape and decides if it's OK, though probably what will happen is when that becomes an option, directors will probably want to do that anyway, screwing up the pace of the production and pissing off the actors in the process. Soderbergh said he was keen as mustard to use this HD camera for Traffic but it wasn't available, and in the end he was happier he went with a panavision 35mm camera, as when they stripped it down to the bare essentials it was much smaller and lighter than a HD cam, and about 60/70% of Traffic was hand held by Soderbergh himself. David Mullen (shot "Twin Falls Idaho", winner of the independent spirit award for cinematography) shot director Mark Polish's follow up "Jackpot" with the 24p camera, and he says he spent more time on the lighting trying to control the highlights to prevent the over exposure, than he would have done on 35mm. He has written nice things about the image quality, especially when projected digitally, but says it's still not there with film yet. You know in some movies, how when there's a big special effect the image quality goes kind of soft and mushy? That's because the shot has dropped from the full resolution of film (about 4000 lines by 2500 in 1.85 aspect) to 1985 by 1080, the "high definition" resolution used for some effects compositing and the same resolution as the Hi Def cameras. And this "you can dial in any look you want" stuff is crap. Anyone who really knows cinematography, or even something like photoshop knows there is a big difference between an image quality inherent to the format and an digitally created effect dialled in and layered over the top. Think of those skits on comedy shows where they might parody some old silent movie. Generally they'll shoot on video, then speed up the footage (in post), then up the contrast, add a bit of fake flicker and put fake scratches on it, turn it black and white (or maybe sepia tone). It doesn't look that much like old movie footage but the audience gets the idea. By contrast, those who want vintage looking footage and want it done right, like James Cameron or Paul Thomas Anderson, go out and get a hand crank 1920s camera and run b/w film through it. The comparison with computer effects is good, as in right now we're at the black hole stage, and in 5 years time we might be up to "last starfighter level" but where going to have to wait 15 years before we get to "Jurassic Park". Comparisons with the introduction of sound, colour or widescreen however are bogus. If digital technology is as good as it's proponents say it is, then audiences will notice no difference or maybe even a slight improvement, but that will not be a massive change in film form or language. Think of it as comparable to Kodak introducing safety based films that were less likey to corrode or self combust, or better, the change over from three strip Technicolor to single strip Eastman colour. The HD cam system is, like DVD, a technical compromise with certain problems (a 5-1 compression ratio, limited dynamic range, no ability to record at different frame rates for slow motion/timelapse etc, a picture definition less than half that of 35mm film) that are being swept under the carpet for the time being because certain people want to technology in operation NOW! Digital does have advantages but they're generally ones of convenience, not quality, and really, apart from cost, those advantages are on the projection/distribution side, not aquisition. Of course, Lucas and those who will follow him down the digital path don't want to say "Well, we're going to go digital 'cos it just makes thing easier for us" they're going to sout "hey it's gotta be better, it'S DIGITAL".

  • March 29, 2001, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Lucas, the Great Innovator/Creatively-Bankrupt Storyteller

    by Pato

    Lucas may be able to convince the entire filmmaking world that digital is superior to film, but this new format will in no way redeem the hokey, pathetic scripting of his recent work. I don't care how beautiful the cinematography is. But, sadly, if this year's Oscars are any indication, I'm sure his technical wizardy will inspire a Best Picture award.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:20 a.m. CST

    I Would Like To Say A Hail 'N' Hearty "AMEN" To My New Spiritual

    by Buzz Maverik

    I was a lost soul just like you. I was drinkin' two fifths of tequila, two cases of beer and a couple of frozen Rum Buttfuckers before lunch. When I couldn't find an opium den, I opened by own and called myself Manchu Fu; I was such a mean motherfucker that when no one answered my ads for coolie, I shanghaied people off the street and forced them to bring me black tea, cool linen and more opium between pipes. In retrospect, my opium den might have been more successful if I'd let other people in. And I was into guns. I'd shoot anything that moved. Man, when I walked into a post office or a public school the Alienated Loners would duck for cover. And of course I explored alternative religions. I used to like to go to Wicca meetings and taunt the lesbians that Aleistir Crowley actually invented their religion. I was going to join Heavens Gate but no way was I going to give up the ol' honey hives. Finally, I found George Lucas and his Lucassians. It was the home I wanted. I got off booze (except for brandy, vodka, beer, champagne and Kahluah) and off drugs (except for acid, mushrooms, peyote, diurta root and crack). I gave up violence, and started only shooting at people who genuinely pissed me off. I lived for George. I can't believe how wrong I was. I was all set to attack my local multiplex and destroy all the roles of film when I heard the good word of Reverend Ablack and was born again. Will you send a donation? How about coming to a weekend retreat? No strings attached. By the way, how is your tolerance to pain?

  • March 29, 2001, 9:21 a.m. CST


    by Geoff

    This is all, as most have you have noticed, total BS. In fact it is (in my humble opinion) a heinous crime for which Mr Lucas should be banned from ever working in film again (once he's finished Star Wars 2 & 3 of course). My problem is this: DV may eventually become a replacement for Film MAYBE. But at the moment the 24p system is not even in the same galaxy as film, despite the lies that are perpetrated by it. The resolution IS NOT as good as s16 film, let alone 35, the contrast and colour range is, in comparison, non-existent and the 'sharpness' is a side-effect (unwanted mostly) of video that does not exist in film. NOW IS NOT THE TIME, the technology is nowhere near good enough and am sick of Lord Lucas sitting on his high horse trying to preach down at everyone else. So there.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:28 a.m. CST

    My bottom line...

    by Beastrow Band

    The bottom line for me is that, while this technology is not perfect, it WILL continue to grow and improve. Unfortunately, that CAN'T be said about much of what's in existence now. Take the debate about stop motion v.s. CG, for instance. I like stop motion. Stop motion is very cool. But stop motion will NEVER get any more realistic than it is today. I personally believe that there will be a day when you won't be able to tell the difference between a CG effect and an honest to God live object. I remember watching a "the making of" special on Ghostbusters and the effects guys feeding some line of crap about motion blurring the dogs and I though, "F-U! It STILL looks like stop motion and doesn't fit with the rest of the visual world". At any rate, I the technology WILL improve, the prices WILL fall, and it WILL become more common, GL or no GL.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:37 a.m. CST

    To the talker who bashed DV...

    by Giant Fish

    I agree, DV sucks bigtime, and the optics are terrible. But this thing apparently has Panavision optics, which is quite different. Every time a new technical innovation in film comes along, there occurs a period in which films tend to get worse. Compare the stiffness of the early talkies with the visual splendor of the late silent era, for instance. And we have certainly seen a fair share of crappily executed CG. But then comes someone who sees the storytelling potential in the new technology, like Fritz Lang did with "M" (the first great sound film), and David Fincher's wonderful photogrammetry effects in Fight Club. I'm positive the HD camera is a great thing, but we'll probably have to watch quite a few crappy digital films before the first gem comes along.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:45 a.m. CST

    "He is an idiot"

    by Palmer Eldritch

    "Oh no!!! You mean we won't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money of film stock" -- you're going to have to spend a fortune getting a decent transfer from digital to film if you want it shown anywhere other than a handful of theatres (like 20 or 30 maximum) in the US. "...(most of which will end up on the trash, unlike digital tapes which can be used over and over)?" -- no serious production would ever reuse old video tape anyway, and as pointed out, film stock accounts for usually less than 1% of film costs unless you're shooting super cheap in which case the transfer to film and the huge expense of Hi Def gear in the first place will wipe out any savings "We will no longer have to spend valuable shooting time cleaning the fucking gate?" Who is we? The director? If he can't use that time talking to the actors or planning the next shot, go take a piss, grab a sandwich from craft services. Cleaning and loading are time consuming but then so is being hunched over a vectorscope carefully setting up the colour balance, exposure pedestal levels of a video camera (which, in essence, is what a hi def digital camera is) "We will no longer have to spend weeks in color correction?" yes you will, though it will be done on huge vastly more expensive computer equipment found in only a few of the most high end facilities instead of machines that can be found in any professional film lab in the world. You'll also have to wait days before you can see the results scanned out to film at the highest resolution. "And the images we shoot will be immediately sharp, clear, and colorful," -- Immediately sharp and clear" as opposed to sharp and clear after five minutes? Anyway not as sharp clear and colourful as film, even super 16mm has more latitude, higher resolution and a wider colour range.Because of the nature of electronic images, they appear less grainy, but thisd doesn't n-mean they are sharper and carry more detail, if fact the reverse is true "...instead of being grainy and degrading with each copy? NO!!! "I WANT my films to be LESS sharp and MORE EXPENSIVE to make," great, sounds like you and the new technology are made for each other. "...because poor images and an empty bank account make a film more "intimate" !!!!" In fact, let's ditch all this Dolby stereo crap too and go back to silent filmmaking on hand-cranked cameras, to somehow preserve our bullshit concept of "artistic integrity,"" - no, I've got a better idea, lets just leap onto the latest new technology which is being pushed by certain filmmakers for whatever agenda and assume that because it has a certain label, in this case 'digital' which the marketeers will try to promote to the public as being a simile for 'better' when in fact it means "cheaper for some of us and more convenient", lets make false comparisons with the coming of sound or colour when in fact this is a much less significant development in terms of the development of cinema than the introduction of crystal sync! "which is merely a rationalization masking our fear of technology and learning new things." -- Better that we all stand in line and all cry with clear loud voices "Oh what lovely clothes the Emperor is wearing." When digital cinema is superior to photographic cinema (as digital audio is superior to analogue, and DVD is better than VHS) then great, but that the moment it isn't, it's not as good, but some obviously think it's good enough.

  • March 29, 2001, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Change is inevitable...

    by Batutta

    Everyone's whining about the death of film, but things change, they always do. No, hi-def might not be there yet, but it will, and sooner than people think. The cameras will get smaller (even smaller than film ones), and cheaper, and better. until you will be able to walk into Circuit City, plop down a few grand and shoot with an image quality matching an arriflex. Of course, you still need a script, actors (well, maybe not, but then you wouldn't need a camera either) good lighting, editing, a music score, and all that other stuff you need to make a good film. Digital is just another tool, one that will broaden the palette of the filmmaker and help him better tell his story. And if film dies, who fucking cares!

  • March 29, 2001, 10:09 a.m. CST

    to Palmer and others

    by NuteG

    People really need to ditch this attitude they have about Lucas being some sort of dictator. He's not preaching, no one's forcing the technology down people's gullets. Once again Lucas is doing the best thing for his movie, and people are criticizing. Oh, and to everybody who says Lucas is obesessed with technology. That's probably partly true. But the whole idea of him using technology like this is so that he doesn't have to worry about certain things. He can say that he wants this and this and this, and they'll be done for him. Whether that made E1 a good film is debatable. Though frankly only an arrogant self-proclaimed expert would claim it didn't look good. Sure, there was all of the obvious stuff like CG characters and sets, but lots more things that look real, such as focus changes and lense/perspective warping of sets, lense flares and wonderful interactive lighting. Some people who bash the film are just as shallow as they claim E1 is visually. The Matrix, for example, features some horrid picture degredation during certain vfx sequence. Some of the CG creatures in that movie look plain ugly. And the shots of reflections on the mirror and the spoon have no subtlety whatsoever. Consider the hangar set in E1. That was only built up to a certain height and length. The floor was reflective, which means that vfx had to be used to prevent the appearance of scaffolding and blue-screen. But the work is so subtle that I'm sure most people didn't notice.

  • March 29, 2001, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Star Wars Episode 2 : The E2 title revealed exclusively in talkb

    by togmeister

    I'm amazed that no-one has yet picked up on what is almost certainly the film's title. It is of course......................................STAR WARS EPISODE 2 : DARK ROMANCE. There. Clean. Simple. Classic. The more i think about it, the more convinced i am that this is the title. Think about it - this could refer to both Anakin and Padme's romance during the republic's darkest hour, and also Anakin's increasing romance with the dark side. Works for me anyways. Oh, and yes, Luca$film HAVE already registered, etc., so draw your own conclusions.

  • March 29, 2001, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Give it 10 years

    by darthshatner

    and digital filming will be highly refined (just look at how far digital sound has come in the past 10 plus years.) And like it or not, Episode 2 will be getting lots of coverage because of these chuckleheads Ep. 2 will suddenly seem more relevant as 60 minutes and Dateline carry specials on the dangers of human cloning. I can already hear the Stone Phillips voiceovers as we go from scenes in Ep. 2 where Clone Troops are loaded into armored carriers to shots of a Raelian cult member in a remote invitro lab talking about wanting to be the "mother incubator" (the Raelians are a real whacked out bunch, crazy UFO cult shitn want to clone themselves.) "Could it happen here?" Phillips intones gravely as the shots of cloned stormtroopers morph into stock footage of Nazis marching through Paris. ` The hype will happen, and it will make the constant waves of variant Jar Jar dolls look like a picnic. Pundits will praise Lucas for his cautionary tale of cloning gone wrong! Social critics rave! Republicans and Democrats unite!! Raelians protest!! You've been warned!!!!

  • March 29, 2001, 10:57 a.m. CST

    'Change..,for lack of a better word, is good.'

    by Gabba-UK

    Will people just stop useing the fact that they dont like George Lucas or his work in order to mask their inablity to grasp change. If it had been the like's of Scorsese, Speilberg or Kubrick who were pioneering the the use of digital we wouldn't be having this talkback!! Im an avid amater film maker. Have been since I was a kid. Went to colledge to study it. Decided it wasn't the career I wanted but still make my little films as a hobby. And if you had have told just ten years ago that I would be able to film then edit, layer soundtracks and do simple optical effects on one machine in my study I'd have told you you were mad! Yet here I am able to do all that on my iMac DV and Sony DV camcorder. Yes, film has a nostalga that digital cant have at the moment. But then so do Silent films and just when was the last time you heard a silent movie gross over 100 million!!

  • March 29, 2001, 10:58 a.m. CST

    toy safety regulations

    by NuteG

    Please elaborate. Personally, I liked the battlefield shots - the way the sun glints off the robots as the march across the fields. Also the great lighting changes with Jar-Jar when the power goes down in the sub. but as for your ignoring CG creatures "until they go away"...well, that doesn't say an awful lot about the quality of the CG work, does it? But like I said a few posts above there are many more subtle things going on with the vfx that most other movies just ignore. And wouldn't you know it, a lot of the effects in E1 aren't CG at all, though they were digitally compostited. Some of the shots of the battle tanks are practical models, as are some of the exteriors of the Naboo city.

  • March 29, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST

    I've got a funny feeling about this.......

    by Miss Aura

    I think that Mr Lucas, has something up his sleeve which is going to be special. I've had my doubts about Episode 2, but now my feeling is that Episode 2 will be THE BEST Star Wars film to date. Face it, the guy IS a genius and he has probably listened to all the slating of Episode 1 and said "right, lets make you eat your words". Bring it on George! PS Harry just seen MEMENTO...FILM OF THE YEAR SO FAR, EASILY!

  • March 29, 2001, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Re: Comedian / FILM IS FOREVER

    by Spamagnet

    Quote: "And digital looks like shit once you do the blow up to a 35 print" ... This isn't necessarily true. I read recently that the Coen brothers digitized "O Brother" and adjusted the coloration of nearly every scene digitally and then output back to film. The kicker is ... apparently they did this in 2K resolution, which (I believe) is very close to HDTV in terms of number of pixels. ***,7220,24139,00.html *** Spamagnet

  • March 29, 2001, 11:16 a.m. CST

    yeah but, phantom menace still sucked.

    by inthetrenches

  • March 29, 2001, 11:18 a.m. CST

    george lucas talks the talk. But does he walk the walk?

    by cosmic cube

    What George Lucas should say is that "his" film career is dead. All his fancy toys couldnt save Episode I. Digital magic is nothing without a good script. What is he going to denounce next? Black and white movies? Does he really think that technology could have saved Howard the Duck?

  • March 29, 2001, 11:57 a.m. CST

    and so it begins...

    by foreverguardian

    Here's my little addition to proceedings; My first feature will be shot and edited digitally in the next two months. Digital filmmaking has opened up so many avenues to the indie creator that it cannot be seen as anything other than a wonderful new avenue to explore. My movie will utilise several CG sequences, do you realise how easy that will be to integrate into the shots? Digital is cutting production and postproduction time and costs in half. I know, it alos paves the way for more crap to be made, but at least alot of projects can now actually be completed, rather than budgets drying up once the film has finally been processed. The results myself and my colleagues have had from digital have been outstanding, that's why I'm trusting my beloved movie with digital technology. Now I can make the film I've dreamed of, for a fraction of the cost.

  • March 29, 2001, 12:18 p.m. CST

    DuArt memories and beautiful little white haired man named Irwin

    by Carlos Allende

    The DuaArt building at 50th & 8th ave. in New York is a living, breathing anachronism. You see, this building is one of the 21st century's last remaining film labs. Taking a walk down its narrow halls is like strolling through the Smithsonian. There are pictures and movie posters with signatures and thank you messages Charlie Chaplin right up to Spike Lee. The Young family has owned DuArt for three generations. There isn't an indie filmmaker in the last 80 years that hasn't come to the Young's for their dailey's. Six years ago I moved to New York and took the first job that was offered to me at DuArt in their titling department. I was from the south and was blown away my first month there by passing people like Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, and even Barbara Striesand in the halls of DuArt. My biggest joy however came from interacting with Irwin Young who ran the place. He was a darling little white haired man who walked the halls rubbing his hands together and telling priceless stories to whomever he came across. Because we did the titles on computers he would often come into my office, sit on my desk and tell me some horror story about how film was in the old days and how technology and science advanced the art form. He would then pick our brains about what he should do next with his company. You see, he knew the end for film was near (even though in his seventies he still won this years Oscar for technical achievement using film). He also knew that he would soon be too old and his daughter Linda (A GREEDY, NASTY, EVIL BITCH!!!!) would probably sell the company or close its doors forever. I don't think that most laymen know what an arduous task it is to process film. It takes a talented team of chemist, scientist, engineers and technicians just to process one 10 to 15 minute can. Well, anyway... We talked Irwin into investing in Avids, a CineIII film recorder and digital technology over five years ago. I even coaxed him into buying me an Indigo SGI with Pandemonium and nTitle which at that time was THE shit to have for 2d title effect animation. The bottom line to this long winded tale is that these people whose life is film already know that film must soon die. They are just trying to eak out a living and stay ahead or at least at pace with the technology curve. Irwin's words to me were that really it didn't matter. What mattered at the end of day were the stories. These pimply-faced film fucks would have sold there dicks to get these little stories told. I think he enjoyed the creative ways these broke kids would come up with to pay him back as much as he enjoyed screening their movies with them. In the end content will always be king. I think a little movie about a certain witch in the woods of Maryland showed that. To close I just remembered a story. One day a guy burst into the title department and wanted to know who he needed to speak to go and screen his crawl (credits at the end of the movie) in the big screening room on the sixth floor. I remembered him because he had sat next to me about two weeks earlier for an entire day making suggestions on how I should lay out this simple white text on black (I thought he some kind of phycho). Their was nobody there with that kind of clout but when he pleaded with me I took him upstairs and convinced the projection guy that I need to test the blacks from some new equipment that we had just got. The lights lowered and we watched this three minute crawl in silence. When the lights came on the guy was sitting there with his head burried in his hands. I feared that he had seen something that he hated until he raised his head. With tears in his eyes he said simply "Thank You", collected himself and walked back to the projectionist. At that moment I understood the almost religious importance that these stories had and I remember feeling proud. I hoped to one day see this movie called "The Brothers McMullin" and this Ed Burns guy wasn't such a psycho afterall.

  • March 29, 2001, 12:19 p.m. CST

    I'm coming around...

    by The_Black_Hair

    ...although I still want to see some test footage myself. The time will come. But the point has been made, and it's a very important point, that the technology will make movie (*sigh* -- can't say film no more) production A LOT cheaper. As we all know, the cost of movie making has always been the art form's curse. It's been an unatainable craft to so many artists with vision. It won't completely change.... we'll always be talking about an expensive craft, but now (well, soon) it's more accessible.

  • March 29, 2001, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Lucas's crusade for Digital

    by Wrangler

    Few years ago, a friend who helps run a large movie theater told me about Lucas saying he insisting that theaters who want to have Episode 2 & 3 are going be filmed digitally and require digital projecter and adventually require them convert to a large digital screen/monitor. I don't know if this is true or not. It seems he wants to make movie making more revolutionary, but like Episode one, Lucas in my opinion is out of touch. The guy is on crusade but he not thinking as clearly as he used to or care about how others feel on innovations, like drive prices at the movies up more. How else are the loosing money theaters going pay for this stuff? He going drive them out of business if he insists on these changes.

  • And I wasn't the only one who thought so. The movie was still mediocre, but the visuals and sound were jaw-dropping amazing. I only wish that the Matrix was done this way too.

  • March 29, 2001, 1:51 p.m. CST

    George Lucas is a hack, but in this case we both agree...

    by Basic Alias a point, anyways. My personal belief is that right now, digital video may very well replace 16mm in the indie film world. All the advantages are true: it's cheaper, easier to use, and right now the quality when transferred to film is pretty damn good. If you want to check it out for yourself, go see the Bueno Vista Social Club, The Original Kings of Comedy, Bamboozled, Dancer in the Dark and Time Code. I saw all of them in theaters, and while their were occasionally signs of pixels (Bamboozled, Time Code, the New York scenes in Bueno) for the most part you really couldn't tell, and it never became anything I would consider a distraction. In fact, I noticed something about DV: maybe it's because of the small size and unassuming nature of camcorders, but the films themselves seemed to have an intensity and intimacy that I haven't seen before in regular films. Especially Dancer in the Dark. You know, now that I think about it, Spike Lee appears to be a more vocal proponent of DV. Sure, Lucas talks the talk, but with two films on my list, Spike's actually walking the walk. Cool. By the way, if any of you would like to learn more about digital filmmaking, I'd like to recommend Res magazine. I started reading it a while ago, and now I consider it a must-have.

  • March 29, 2001, 2:05 p.m. CST

    No camera in the world can save a soulless movie

    by low_lattitude2

    Now , the whole digital camera propaganda seems to be another PR device promoting a probably bad film and trying to keep eyes away from it's flaws. By the way , here are 3 links where you can obtain healthy and expert knowledge what the whole digital vs Film is about:

  • March 29, 2001, 2:37 p.m. CST

    A photographer's perspective

    by bswise

    No doubt we'll soon be hearing from Harry how amazing and "orgasmic" the digitally enhanced (and projected) AKIRA premiere that he's attending tomorrow nite here in NYC is. I'm curious too and am looking forward to seeing it soon. However, many thanks to Palmer Eldritch for making an empassioned appeal on behalf of the light-emulsion medium. Of course dabblers like myself have looked forward to digital mediums for decades, just for the shear ease and inexpense of use. And, of course, Special Effects innovators like ILM would be rigorously pursue advancing the state of high definition digital for commercial use. But, of course, we all piss all over ourselves with glee assuming what is new and improved is always better. I've been an experimental photographer for 15 years now, with the last 3 devoted to digital techniques and, I have to say, there are qualities of light that cannot be achieved through digital means, no matter how good the lense is. A long exposure of a moonlit tree using 64 speed Kodachrome has a luminescence that literally floats within the emulsion. On the other hand, I can take my digital camera out at night and shoot hand-held. Moreover, I've taken tens of thousands of images with my digital, what would have cost a small fortune in film and devloping costs. All expenses for me are devoted to digital printing (ink and paper) which is far superior to chemical enlargements. (You can check out some of my recent digital work at But the most amazing prints I've made are from drum-scanning my older 35mm or large format slides or negs. These scanners read every bit of grain, color and detail, and the Epson archival digital prints are simply astounding. So, at least in still photography, the happiest medium is between the old and new. In terms of moving pictures, I agree with Carlos Allende and other, that stories, artistry and necessity will forever be paramount to technology and technique. The hype machine over Lucas' digital feature strikes me as more than a little marketing gimickry.

  • March 29, 2001, 3:07 p.m. CST


    by anton

    No one will probably read this by now, but I want to write it anyway. I love art. I love making it, and being entertained by it. It is fun. And abstract art can touch me more deeply than just a fun feeling. But... art is just what it is... a piece of life, not everything. Come on, step back from how you feel about just your experience with art, and realize that it has been around for a long long time. People have been making it and selling it and stealing it and using it and loving it. Part of what's better about being a human than any other living thing on our planet is our ability to see beauty. Wouldn't trade that for flying. Of course I wouldn't care about flying if I did. Anyway, so what is my point? I'm sure that there are plenty of reasons for being mad about this topic of digital vs film. But let's not kid ourselves... they don't have anything to do with art. Two things I am pretty sure about is that art is in the eye of the beholder. And it isn't ever free. By not free I mean it cost something. By cost I mean that it required someone's effort. By effort I mean that it took work. If you don't know that, then think somemore about it. We all appreciate art. We don't all place the same value on the same piece of art. We all hate it when someone has a piece of art that they don't appreciate and that we value very highly. But, we REALLY hate it when someone says a bunch of really right on stuff that doesn't do anybody any good because it got lost in the way they said it. Like this floating nowhere "a quote a day calander" little prose I've written here. SO my REAL point is... would those of you who fight first and listen later please think more about what you write before submiting it. Just like the obvious but still good points above, some of your points are great, but you dilute or even completely lose the punch by talking like a politician to a church. Please try to keep what you say crap-free. Otherwise you will never be heard by a reader who can actually make a difference. Yeah yeah, you can make a difference too... so don't ruin your chance.

  • March 29, 2001, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Thank you LONGTOM!!

    by JimJim Binks

    I bet a friend Five Dollars that within 24 hours of this article being posted, we'd see "Lucas is a hack" in the subject line of one the talk backs! I can't believe he took the bet.

  • March 29, 2001, 3:48 p.m. CST

    DV OK . 35mm best - for now

    by Peter8148

    All media are not permenant and have to be "maintained" if they are not to deteriorate. Although with appropriate rewriting digital data will be more or less pristine for ever.------ The best Indy film solution is surely s16. Then printing up to 35mm when your genius is finally recognised. DV to 35mm is an aquired taste to say the least! --------The bottom line on the Sony/Panavision camera is that 35mm film has superior resolution and dynamic range. However if digital media allow a few optical steps to be eliminated then the final print that hits the cinemas may OK?

  • March 29, 2001, 5:43 p.m. CST

    digital vs film.

    by otcconan

    To those of you wanting more "grain" to your image, just go to the movies with some dirty glasses on you luddites. The fact is, yes, Night of the Living Dead is 100% creepier in black and white. But each film shines in its own format. Star Wars is a futuristic piece. It should be crisp and clean. Now my question to those of you who are dissing George for shooting in digital: How many of you have already replaced your vinyl LP collections with CD's? I see no difference in the "grain" of Sparticus and that little crackle that comes just before "Love Gun" by Kiss kicks in. Both media have their place. I admit that I have LP's that sound better on vinyl and I have CD's that sound better on digital. Let each movie stand on its own and don't dismiss it just because of the media it was shot on. Hell even Rodriguez is going to digital. Does that make you think he still couldn't make a movie like "El Mariachi"?

  • March 29, 2001, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Concentrate on WHAT your filming George, not HOW.

    by stevo4

    I saw Episode 1 Digital and it looked very good, excpet for some choppiness here and there. I don't give a crap what George uses to film Episodes 2 and 3, I just hope what is filmed is better than Episode 1. The more Lucas does, the more I realize that Star Wars is nothing more than a springboard to launch his personal projects, ie. THX sound, ILM, Surround EX, and now digital filming. Don't get me wrong, all of the mentioned advances are excellent, but don't make the movies as advertisements for them.

  • March 29, 2001, 6:21 p.m. CST

    cry babies

    by keroua99

    First of all, when did Lucas become your human punching bag? The feeling that "Oh I loved the first 3 but EP1 really sucked" must be a requirement to gain access to your geek club. Should Lucas have made a film to appeal only to the 1% of the movie audience you guys make up? "waaa...Jar jar Binks sucked...waaaa it was too kid-friendly..waaa...Lucas is satan...waaaa...EP1 should have been dark as hell and filled with violence so I can release all the anger inside me that's been building up ever since big-tittied Mary Jane wouldn't let me feel her up" Really you guys need to get over this thing and move on with your lives. Bottom line? EP1 will be remembered for it's astounding visual effects and its depth of storytelling.

  • March 29, 2001, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Kabouter: "I went back in time shot Lucas in 1974..."


    Lucas who?

  • March 29, 2001, 7:50 p.m. CST

    The Medium

    by GMitus

    I can't speak to the quality of this new Star Wars movie. I hope it will be better than the last one and all signs point to it being a better movie, but we shall deal with that when the time comes. As for now, I know this whole "Digital projection being better than film" thing will have MANY a fan up in arms, but most of them are simply people who spend their lives criticsing movies they couldn't make if their lives depended on it. As a young filmmaker, I CAN speak to the qualities video has over film, though I spent many a day wishing for a video image that would shoot in 24fps. SAINTS BE PRAISED! Now there is such a thing! I am so happy. Believe me, film will never go away. you can push it off to the side, hide it, claim it never existed, but as long as there will be movies, there will be movies shot in film...good ole fashion film stock. Digital film will become the new standard, which means that now there is just one more option to shoot with...and that is a GOOD thing for filmmakers and audiences alike. More is good. So for all you naysayers out there, open your minds and accept the new've already accepted computers into your lives. All art nowadays is done on the computers. Hell, we even communicate through our computers. Open up talkbackers and embrace the coming of cheap and good movies.

  • March 29, 2001, 8:26 p.m. CST

    the death of cinematography?

    by vivian darkroom

  • March 29, 2001, 8:33 p.m. CST

    pros and cons

    by heathfranklin

    i have done some work with the different formats that are out there. an indie filmmaker must look at several different areas 1. where do i want to show this "film" 2. what do i want it to look like and 3. what access do i have to equipment. i recently produced a feature film shot on panasonic's new 480 progressive format which is neither here (ntsc) or there (high def) but kinda looms in the middle. i produced the "film" for a mesely $35,000 (SAG experimental). the transform to 35mm will cost another $40K. i could have done it on sup16 or even 35 short ends but there is NO WAY i could have gotten this film edited (included opticals, titles, music, etc) on any film format for that cost. will it look much different than film. with my brilliant dp, i think it won't. now, this 480p camera is not a big, bulky hd camera with panavision lens and all sorts of problems like the sony. it looks more like an eng style run and gun news camera. after the film is edited, i can upconvert to true hd and then have a film print made (at about $100/min more than if it was an ntsc transfer to film). my next project will be shot on a variable frame (i.e. 24fps) panasonic hd cinema camera. for my productions, i save a hell of a lot of money and i honestly spend most of the time during production goofing off because things run MUCH smoother when you're dealing with $20 DVCPRO tapes versus film stock. for me, the answer is hd, or near hd (480P) formats. if i had $20M to produce a film, you probably woulnd't see any video cameras on set except for publicity. why take a chance when a budget like that can easlily support film? the question is not, and may never be, will hd replace film but what is right for your production at this time.

  • March 29, 2001, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Gotta say...

    by csk360

    If you ever worked on a fucking Movieola you as sure as hell would never wan't to go back to it after working on all the great non-linear computer editing systems that know have. Heck, at home I just cut on my Athlon PC ruinning Primere and After Effects and I can do all kinds of shit that movieolas and flatbeds could never do. and don't tell Me anything about sound I use Pro Tools and it hands down beats everything else. Neo is however right about the P24 camera's and Harry babbling like the fanboy He is. But then again those camera's are still more or less in the beta stage and if Lucas decited not to use them. Sony probably wouldn't be spenind all those millions of dollars in research in ther quick rate thay are.

  • March 29, 2001, 8:50 p.m. CST

    the death of cinematography?

    by vivian darkroom

    while thrilled by the possibilities of 24fps digital, i can't help but wondering if this signals the end of artists like Gregg Toland, Gordan Willis, Ellen Kuras, Sven Nykvist, Carlo DiPalma, Darius Khonji, Jordan Cronenweth, and many, many others? Did you see the oscar tribute to Jack Cardiff--far and away the best part of the awards show the other night? Dazzling, gorgeous. Following this and the talkback on Panic Room, I can't help wondering if these figures are, like the original Disney pen-and-ink animators, about to disappear before the howling mouth of the Digital: If the director can change anything and everything in post, what is to become of these artisans? Really, what's the point of perfecting lighting if it can all be changed later? i love technology, but the part of me that adores Visions of Light (i urge you to see it if you haven't) wonders what happens now. I think the director should, ideally, be in control--but what happens when directors are, unlike, say Fincher or Kubrick, at the helm. (Quick test: Name your favorite empty-but-beautifully- photographed film. Mine, just off-the-cuff, would include such titles as A River Runs Through It, Wolf, and virtually every film Woody Allen as make since the mid-80's.) ps this is the best, smartest, most invigorating talk-back i've even read. this is--unlike puerile sex jokes or flaming--stuff that matters, a consideration of the future's blueprint.

  • March 29, 2001, 11:25 p.m. CST

    are dp's obsolete?

    by heathfranklin

    i don't care what format you shoot on? there is very, very, very little that can be done in post to "fix" or "change" the way footage was acquired. sure, you can add this and that and make color corrections and push or pull exposure (either through the lab or digitally in post) but the one thing, or person, that will DEFINETELY survive the format wars is the director of photography. high defintion, in my opinion (going against all the hoop-la) requires a dp at least as experienced as a 35mil dp, if you want to go to the big screen. do the guys from blair witch agree? no. did they try to shoot a film on dv to replace film? no. once again, it's all about the end product and if you want your film to look like a run and gun, no permits, guerilla style, no lighting, practicals only film then either format will work. if you want to win an oscar then you'd better have a damn good dp and i'll say that regardless of how good the technology gets. a director directs actors and, if he's able, comosition, framing, depth, color, etc. but the dp is the one that understands how to translate the director's visual vision into the final product. the 24bit deva system certainly did not make the sound mixer obsolete and high def will certainly not make the dp obsolete.

  • March 29, 2001, 11:31 p.m. CST


    by MRfanboy

    Digital is the wave of the future just like color film replaced black and white. Film will still be used just like black and white is still used but the amount of money saved on transfering SGI effects to film versus digital will save millions of dollars. Also please shut up about how much Lucas has ruined your pathetic lifes with EP1. Every little bitch who hated EP1 so much will go see 2 and 3 anyways, its like moths who cant stay away from the light. Go back to playing UT online and masturbating to fake nudes of Britney Spears.

  • March 30, 2001, 12:33 a.m. CST

    re: digital

    by Serpico1974

    I shot tests with the Panavision 24P several months ago. My impressions so far: Pros: - Instant feedback. No waiting on dailies. This is a Good Thing for obvious reasons. - It looks *damn* good. Not perfect, but it'll get there soon enough. Saturated colors and skin tones look fantastic. - Postproduction, as shown in the Star Wars documentary, will be helped a great deal. A faster feedback loop to the director and editor is a Good Thing. - You can set and store looks in the camera itself (affecting gamma, contrast, overall color, etc) instead of through filtration or in the lab. Again, instant feedback on set, very nice. - Underexposed details render beautifully. Cons: - Conversely, it doesn't handle overexposure NEARLY as well as film does. Details do not hold well at all. And with extreme overexposure, instead of the smooth textured, burning, blooming out of highlights you get with film, there is more of a 'crunchy' texture to the overexposed area. Ugly, and something new that needs to be watched when shooting. - A tiny CCD amounts to HUGE depth of field no matter what. This is bad. Despite the fact that Panavision engineered the lenses to be very fast to compensate for this fact, wide open it is still the equivalent 35mm depth of field of around a 5.6. This is unaccepatable. Part of some of the most beautiful cinematography is selective focus; isolating and enhancing parts of the frame through depth of field. This is a fault of the camera body; the CCD needs to be larger, end of story. - You are restriceted to shooting 24 frames per second. No faster, no slower. Thats right, no slow motion, no undercranking. Again, unacceptable to most filmmakers I would guess. The feedback I got a few months ago is that they do not know when it would be able to be implimented. - The camera itself is HUGE. Yes, in the Star Wars documentary footage they point out that the lenses have gotten smaller. Well, I played with the smaller lens and this thing is still a *titan* compared to a 35mm Panaflex camera with a Panavision Primo zoom on (forget about a prime). I am sure they will eventually get it smaller. Currently, the 'speed' advantages of 24P over film so far as camera setups are involved are nonexistant. Misconceptions I see are that you can shoot digital 'practically'. Well, you can shoot film 'practically' too, it will still look amateur if its not done well. The 24P CCD is as sensitive as middle-speed 35mm film, so I see no difference so far as getting a good exposure on digital as opposed to film (except for the fact that there are high-speed film stocks that are faster than what digital currently offers) I don't see the role of the DP leaving any time soon. You still need someone who can light a frame and a scene tastefully. And much like film, there are still technical things that you need to look out for to make sure that your footage doesn't look bad. Instead of fighting grain and milked blacks from printing up an underexposed negative, you will be fighting gain (spelled g-a-i-n) and other such artifacting on digital if the CCD isn't exposed properly. Shooting on digital is coming, and because of the positives I cannot wait. However, the negatives really need to be ironed out. All of the above issues are things that everyone involved has been working on for some time. What is exciting me the most right now is the power of the digital intermediate; timing your theatrical film much like you would for a TV commercial or music video. O Brother Where Art Thou and Traffic both did this, as (I understand) will The Panic Room. Almost every film will go trough a digital intermediate stage within five years. With the power you have over standard timing I can't see it happening any other way. Digital presentation will follow soon I hope. What I have seen is incredible, like having cataracts removed from my eyes. Digital acquisition has some humps it needs to get over. We'll see what happens. At the very least we'll see the current state of it in 2002 :) /long winded post over

  • March 30, 2001, 12:35 a.m. CST

    Oh lord....

    by Serpico1974

    Oh lord, my first talkback and I discover that you can't format your posts with PARAGRAPHS? Wow, run on sentance city. Talk about another thing that needs to be changed...

  • March 30, 2001, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Shut the fuck, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck!

    by tank-ass

    I didn't read any of your other messages, because frankly, it's just fucking bitching and moaning. Digital cameras, are the future, and I for one am very excited about it as a young film maker. Why you may ask, well for one, Film to expensive, so you save yourself at least 2 grand there. There are so many options open to you ie. Color,contrast, etc. with Digital. Some might like the grain, I want clear Vision. Digital Cameras are gonna make it the movie making biz much better/easier for directors on the indy scene. All you young directors should be thrilled. Instead your all freaking out, you people that bitch about the Digital Cameras are probably the same SOB's who order, Vinyl Records cause it sounds "Grainer" The future is coming one frame at a time. Peace out!

  • March 30, 2001, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Thank You Harry! Finaly a Great Talk Bak Topic for us Filmmakers

    by islander

    DIGITAL IS THE FUTURE. I have been shooting movies on my Canon GL1 and Canon XL1 digital video cameras. And editing on my home computer (Adobe Premiere 6.0 ROCKS). I just wish I had this when I started film school. Picture is crisp and sharp colors are unbelievably clear and the sound is to die for. Granted you need to know what you are doing, just having the tools is not enough. And we don't need to go into the imprtance of the script, no script equals no movie. The new Sony 900HD 24p is a godsend. It is a High Definition image recorded at 24 frames per second (hence 24p) progressive image (no interlaced frames) it will record motion like film. It can also do 30 frame progressive, 30 frame interlaced and 60 frame interlace. They are not cheap, they are about $100,000 with no lense. Sony lenses are start about $8,000 to $15,000. The Panavision lenses are probobly as much as the camera itself. What does this mean for film makers? If you shot a film on this camera you can have it edited and then put on 35mm film (movie theaters will be slow to change to video projectors--but they will). You will save money on film stock and processing and on getting the film edited (the negative for the release prints anyway). This is where most of the money in low budget films go now. Actors assistans and other will work for free most of the time. There are labs that specialize in video to film and now 24p to film (I have read that someone in Switzerland does a good job). With all the money you save you can spend it on more production value, pay your people (something), put it in another production or just get yours off the ground. I am glad to see Robert Rodriguez on board the digital band wagon. Spike Lee shot his last two theatrical releases "Kings of Comedy" and "Bamboozaled" using digital cameras NOT HIGH DEF CAMERAS, vx 1000 and a digital broadcast grade camera. Spike Lee is sold on it as well. If you know nothing about this technology, get educated, you will love what you learned. At Dragon*Con last year, on a pannal about independent film (with Llyod Kaufman) a filmmaker there was taling about a movie he was shooting called "CHARACTORS", it is a clerks set in an amusment park, about those guys who ware the costumes and walk around talking and making nice with the visitors. He is shooting it on a Canon XL1 3CCD digital camera (they are about $4,000). New Line Cinema read the script and they are interested in the film and want to see it when it is done. They are interested in a theatrical run. But it will still have to be good. To learn more hear are some good magazines you should read... Videography-A profesionals magazine that reads like a realy good text book on video production, and it is free to get it check out, FILMMAKER THE MAGAZINE OF INDEPENDENT FILM-Just plain great on independent productions advise and stories of films you want to see. Digital Video (DV)-Review central on the latest hardware and software for video production very good read. Computer Videomaker-More consumer level video mag for the masses, easy read for those who know little or nothing about shooting video. Anc Check out for more information. And here is a TIp for you out there that want to own a good 3chip digital camera, lights, mics, computer for editing, software and other gear to make films. Put it to work. Videography is a great way to make a living (it beats the hell out of working retail)! You could shoot 3 wedding a month and not have to work the rest of the month. But work more to get that stuff paid for. You could get totally equiped for less than $10,000 and have it paid for in less than a year while making a good living with it. But do your homework, read about this stuff online (thats free too). More filmmaker talkback Harry and thanks again.

  • March 30, 2001, 7:30 a.m. CST


    by Brian A Thomas

    First I

  • March 30, 2001, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Progress? Meh.

    by yo0o0oy

    My family had a Keystone regular 8 camera from 1960 - 1980. It was powered by a hand-wound internal spring. The resulting movies were clear and beautiful under most lighting conditions. Their rich, saturated colors hold up beautifully today. The depth of field for stop motion animation and model spaceship passes was astounding. We changed to a Super 8 Canon. The battery-eating camera had a non-removable zoom lens with horrible depth of field. It was fine for wide-angle touristy scenes in full daylight, but it took 4 years of experimenting to come close to the old camera's FX performance. A couple years ago, we started using a Sony Hi8 camcorder with lots of digital technology. Compared to Super 8, the image quality dove off a cliff. CCD's don't see light the same way film or the human eye does. You can't have light sources in the image. You can't do time-lapse or single-frame animation. Red things look wrong. Sure, sound is nice, but having instant video playback with wind, car, and lawn mower noise seems less magical than the unified, dare I say sacred, silence of the 8mm universe. At least Hi8 has no DV image compression problems. While digital sound is a wonderful advance in entertainment (but hasn't reduced the $18+ per CD cost to consumers), digital images look dead and fake. I find it ironic that the champion of digital cinema once made movies that were suspicious of technology. Breathless audiences loved it when Luke made his shot after he switched off his targeting computer. THX-1138 made his way to freedom because of a hilariously tracked accounting decision. One of my favorite shots in cinema is the white car emerging from an extreme telephoto blur in THX-1138. If digital cameras can exceed the beauty and versatility of film, fine. But I'd rather see VistaVision (using standard 35mm film sideways for a bigger, wider image) make a comeback.

  • March 30, 2001, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Whoa! My Spiritual Leader Is A Commie?

    by Buzz Maverik

    As a Zen Fascist, I find that I must look for a new cult. I can't join the Lucassians because I've publically stated that even though I liked TPM, I felt that it had some flaws (I heard that they stoned a guy named Brother Aunt Beru Kevin because he cringed when Anakin said "Yippee!"). Scientology is out because I'm still pissed at L. Ron Hubbard for stealing Jack Parsons' money and girlfriend, plus I didn't see BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Maybe I'll join that Japanese gas cult, it sounds pretty good -- you have to subsist on a diet of kobe beef and Kirin beer.

  • March 30, 2001, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Oh, Rev, If I Get Called Before Senator McCarthy and Mr. Cohn...

    by Buzz Maverik

    I'm namin' names! If it was good enough for Walt Disney, Elia Kazan and the guy who directed DESTINATION MARS (who named everyone who worked with him on the film as a Commie) it's good enough for ol' Buzz Reginald Maverik.

  • March 30, 2001, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Need a New Cult?

    by darthshatner

    I wasn't kidding. The clones are coming. or You can check out their business end site. They're dead serious. Oh yeah, digital filming... blah blah blah... There... Got back on topic.

  • March 30, 2001, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Lucas is a hack? That's not what you said before TPM. Why didn't

    by darthflagg

    Episode II will rock even if it's shot on VHS. As for TPM not having the same look as the OT - did it occur to anybody that Episode I was SUPPOSED to look different cause it's set in a different TIME PERIOD? TPM took place in the bright, colorful galaxy before the dark times, before the Empire. And, for the record, there was just as many model shots in TPM as in the OT. How can you criticise the CGI if you don't even know which shots were computer and which were real?

  • March 30, 2001, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Reverend A., Buzz M., and Mad-Eye


    You guys all rock. You are my AICN idols. Just wanted to mention this. Out.

  • March 30, 2001, 8:10 p.m. CST

    To the critics of HD

    by Lobanhaki

    On Balky Equipment: What do you expect? This is the first major movie shot HD. The equipment will show it's weaknesses, and in future those weaknesses will be adjusted for. BTW, there are moving parts, since the camera uses magnetic tape for recording. -------------------------------------------------------------------- On The Relative Expense of HD: Face it, fellows, film is expensive. It's active ingredient is SILVER. That's right. SILVER. When you buy film, that's what makes it so expensive! 100 feet (around Ten Minutes worth) of 35mm film runs around 3000 a pop. That easily outpaces HD tape. Now, I agree that there is a particular hitch in having to distribute on film for the time being. However, that hitch doesn't apply to the making of the film. An actual product, a finished movie, can exist, short of distribution, so that those willing can distribute with far fewer costs involved. -------------------------------------------------------------------- On The Quality of HD: The quality of HD suffers in comparison to film, no doubt, so long as you never intend to distribute your movie. Feel free to distribute, but your movie is going to end up at HD quality or worse. That's why HD runs at 1080 vertical lines of resolution: it's roughly equivalent to the resolution of the film you get shown in the theatre. An interesting story comes out of the digital projection of Star Wars 1: They were doing side by side comparisons of the projections, and somebody was wondering about these peculiar artifacts that were showing up in the digital footage. As it turns out, that artifact was film grain. The HD projection was so sharp that people saw something that rarely shows up in films where it's not intended, especially in release prints. What many do not understand is that film, being analogue, decreases in sharpness and quality with each copy, and I think there are at least several steps between the final negative and the theatrical prints. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ On Obsolescence: Naturally, digital will get better. As HD becomes a mainstream medium, Cameramakers will improve the capabilities, sometimes at the price of compatibility. However, though recording media may change, I find it very unlikely that nobody will think to make these things backwards compatible. Also, the great value of Digital is it's ability to survive it's media, to be transferred to different forms and different places. As long as one readable copy survives, the problems of decay will be minimal. The decay of the information is also less wholesale than film, which can disintegrate just sitting in a vault Film is inordinately fragile as a medium, and difficult to copy. Digital is robust, and can be copied, theoretically, without limit. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ On The Artistic Merits of the Medium: Everybody's talking about the democratization of movie making. I think are limits to that, of course, but think about this: When Jurassic Park was released, digital effects required 10,000 dollar workstations, 10,000 dollar animation programs, and doing it HD was NOT POSSIBLE! Nonlinear Editing was in it's infancy, and the idea that anybody could work on a movie out of their garage, as Richard Rodriguez did with Spy Kids was simply absurd. With a little discipline and foresight, many things are in the hands of people at the level of a few thousand dollars that would have been way out of sight a decade ago. If a small, temporary degradation of image quality is all we have to pay for such a broadening of perspectives in the marketplace... why not?

  • March 31, 2001, 1:09 a.m. CST

    We're missing the biggest benefit to indie filmaking DV has to o

    by AltairWolfe

    Distribution! With the ever increasing quality of MPEG compression (MPEG4 is looking pretty good, not perfect, but good) and new satellites going up every month... pretty soon a local theatre will be able to recieve initial release movies in the same kind of pay-per-view fashion that we've become accostomed to in our own homes. I personally live in a smaller community where tons of movies every year never make it to me because theatre owners don't think they're worth the costs of bringing it in. Imagine being an independant "movie"-maker. No longer do you have to have to pay for copy after copy, print after print of your movie for every theatre you want to show it. In fact most distribution costs would be gone period. Plus this type of pay-as-you-go approach could entice more theatre owners to screen a movie they might not otherwise, because they can pay only for a couple viewings at limited times. Don't even get me started with the possabilities for foreign films... Obviously with digital technology and this type of distribution, copyright laws and copy protection issues would have to be seriously addressed, but this has been no different than issues revolving around DVD and the ill fated DivX. Ultimately filmmaking (oh lets just keep using that term... Frigidare quit being the only "icebox" maker decades ago, but I bet you all still raid the fridge at night!!) is about story telling. Granted it's VISUAL story telling, but few "goregeous" movies with dreadful storytelling ever were worth much; like 'Dick Tracy'. And many "ugly" films with innovative techniques like 'Pi' are much more memorable. Give the filmmaker whatever tools he can get his hands on to tell his tale!!!!!!

  • March 31, 2001, 2:08 a.m. CST

    "few 'goregeous' movies with dreadful storytelling ever were wor


    Huh? Did somebody say "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?" Oh, sorry. That was just me.

  • March 31, 2001, 10:42 a.m. CST

    What about home viewing?

    by Milton

    I so glad that Episode II is going to be that beautiful in the theatres. Lucas must really, really care about the quality of his films when people watch them. Anyway, I gotta run - I'm gonna go watch STAR WARS and my VCR just finished rewinding it. - Milton

  • April 2, 2001, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Video is, in a word, shit.

    by crickmail

    Here's my response to Lucas' propaganda infomercial on shooting Episode II in 24p HD "Digital" format. First point: "Digital" is just another word for something that is still just video. Second point: Video in any form will always be inferior to film. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either (like Lucas) trying to sell you something or they are indeed ignorant. Video is and always will be an eletronic, lifeless, shitty low resolution format (compared to motion picture film). Query: So why is Lucas trying to "sell" an inferior format? Really, why is he doing it? Does he have a huge chunk of Sony? - probably. Does he want to be a film pioneer like Kubrick? Sure, but he didn't pioneer anything in Star War, sound or otherwise, that Kubrick didn't put into practice 10 years earlier. And, by the way, did Kubrick ever make shitty little agit-prop infomercials trying to "sell" you the use of the steadicam in The Shining? Or did he try to "sell" you front projection he pioneered in 2001? Hell no! I think the reason is simply because Lucas is a miserable hack of a profiteer who has almost single-handedly responsible for "killing the movies" in the 80's and wants to deal the death blow by forcing theatres to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on shitty video projection systems to play his shitty film, thereby creating a market vacuum which will force other shitty hack producers to shoot their shitty films on the same shitty low resolution format he did. The only obstacle then is to convince millions of gullible moviegoers that VIDEO IS BETTER THAN FILM!!! And the sad thing is, THEY WILL BELIEVE IT!!! DIGITAL IS HERE!!! will be the rallying cry! (I've never even really understood what that statement meant). So along with every other shitty format that has been "sold" to us (NTSC, VHS, Interlaced HD) we will also have this wonderful new shitty low-resolution image to stare at in movie theatres - and most will actually believe it's better! A turd is still a turd. Actually, though, this might be good for indie fimmakers, because while every shitty mindless fucking hack in Hollywood is shooting with thier shitty Jap fucking camcorders, we can have at the 35mm gear while the demand is low! NOW WE'RE TALKIN!! Sorry about all the curse words and the "Jap" thing. -Jon Springer

  • May 9, 2001, 3:02 p.m. CST

    the time has come ..

    by filmakr1

    ... we have waited too long ...